Okay, since this is the most alive thread on the Livewires - Here is a very limited add-on review, to augment the OP review LIVEWIRES VS Denon AH-C700 and Shure SE500's (and a little bit of ER6i)
I have had out of town company all weekend, and gone driving through the mountains yesterday, and to the golf course today with son and mother-in-law who is now quite ill...
...So, I haven't been able to do much comparison of my Livewires that arrived yesterday vs Denon AH-C700 - this is my "first impression" with less than 2-3 hours with them on. I have A LOT more listening to do with them.
(1) VOLUME: LW's are a little more efficient = 40% on volume is same as Denon at 50% on a 3G nano, BUT they can go to 100% on the 3G nano without distortion.
(2) HIGHS: They are brighter, but not in a bad way, i.e. not fatiguing with most program material (except Pixies). They have more defined highs like other balanced armatures vs dynamic, but are also more extended than any of my Shures have been, likely matching the C700 highs extension. Livewires states they are flat to 12K before falling off, which should put them up there with other balanced armatures that can reach the 16K practical limit.
(3) MIDS: Are more defined and detailed than the C700, but not harsh in the upper mids like an ER6i, and not as subdued in the mids as the SE310/E4c/SE500's. Still, I am not sure about piano realism yet - I have only listened with an unamped 3G nano so far and not for enough time to study them. My music collection on the nano is limited.
(4) SOUND-STAGE: Everything sounds more present, yet at the same time the sound stage is wider than C700.
Often, like with SE500's, the wider the soundstage the less present or forward the midrange, but these don't seem to fit that expected behaviour. They match the SE500's wider sound stage without feeling distant.
(5) BASS: amplitude (i.e. volume) matches the C700's bass volume easily, and out-performs the ER6i bass. Using the 3G nano EQ set as "small speakers" which will only increase the bass and NOT raise mids or treble, the SE500's still have more bass impact. For some this will be good news, as that means the bass isn't bloated, and it is also not colored like a uper.fi 5 pro.
Meanwhile, the poor little ER6i NEED the EQ bass turned up in EQ (as above) to come close to the LW's - proof the LW have more bass than ER6i. At first, the more present mids and highs can make it seem like there is less bass, but a quick switch from LW's to the C700 does not result in an increase in bass with the C700 (even when adjusting the volume for less efficiency).
(6) ISOLATION: the LW isolate much more than the Denon C700, and almost but not quite matching the ER6i with black foams (which block out my alarm clock and cell phone in the morning). All of my Shure's have isolated more than the C700, but less than the ER6i. The LW are between the Shure and ER6i with both using black olive foamies for sound isolation.
(7) COMFORT: the LW disappear after a few minutes and you don't feel them. No other IEM I have tried does that!!
(8) SOUND SIGNATURE: What else do they sound like? I've said before my SE500's unamped kinda remind me of my Sennheiser HD600's with stock cable and an amp. The Denon C700 remind me of my Ultrasone HFI700 DVD sound balance, but without the sound stage. The LW's sound signature kinda reminds me of a high end Grado (i.e. better than iGrado, SR-60/80/125). It's a shame I haven't heard everything out there yet, or I'd have a better stable of phones to compare them to.SUMMARY: LW's have brighter more detailed highs and mids than C700, with equal bass to C700 (but less than SE500's and more than ER6i's), a bigger soundstage that equals the SE500's, a good degree of isolation and more comfort than anything else I tried.
Again, this is my first impression, and I plan to do more A-B-C comparisons over the next few days. But, if I was forced to chose Denon AH-C700 vs Livewires right now, I pick Livewires
. If forced to chose between Shure SE500's and Livewires, I'd shoot myself out of exasperation. I'm my case, I keep all 3. I actually bought the Denon for the decreased sound isolation and ability to keep up the bass output without a tight seal. I got the SE500's for times when I like to be a bass-head, otherwise I would have kept my SE310 and E4c. I got the Livewires to be my neutral monitors, to replace the E4c that I sold because they were too boring for me after the SE500's. The Livewires fortunately, while not colored, are not boring.
PS: I am still playing with getting the right position for the LW's. While the left ear-piece fits closer to perfect and even reseals by itself if I break the seal; the right one might be a little smaller than needed, as I can break the seal more easily than it should - and it stays unsealed until I reposition it. It seems like it could use a little more material right at the inferior and superior auditory meatus (I am a doctor, so I get to use big words).
I will give the LW's at least a week before I contact EarPeace about that. The manufacturer is more than happy to redo them for improper fit until it is right, at no charge. John even begged me to get them tweaked before complaining about them to everyone. (I am not complaining
) After reading about fit and seal in the UE11 threads, I am not 100% sure the issue is not my fault yet, so I want to do my part to find the right earpiece position first (screw them in, push, rotate, etc). It is mostly an issue if I am laying down in bed, sometimes with a neck roll pillow, but mostly if I roll over to my side or turn my head head a certain way. This can press on the ear canal between the pinna of the ear and mastoid process (more doctor words) and try to eject the earpiece. This is the same way you remove them when you are done using them too. Again, the left earpiece reseals itself, so I'd like the right to do that too.